The onset of dementia can be marked by symptoms such as forgetting the names of people close to you or getting lost in your own neighborhood. Some signs, though, are more subtle, like the inability to recognize sarcasm or eating spoiled food.
Any significant change in a person’s behavior could be cause for concern, according to experts cited by the website Everyday Health, who listed several early warning signs of dementia that may not be easily recognizable.
One surprising sign? Eating items that are not food, or eating food that is spoiled. A person with dementia might try to eat the flower in a vase on a restaurant table because they know they are there to eat, but don’t know the flower is not food.
People with dementia may have a hard time picking up on sarcasm or telling when a person is lying. They also might become unable to understand embarrassment, their own or others’.
A related sign is the loss of a sense of social norms. Shoplifting, inappropriate comments or actions all can be dementia symptoms. Also, when someone who is usually considerate and polite starts to say insulting or inappropriate things — and shows no awareness or regret about what they’ve said — they could be exhibiting an early sign of dementia.
A classic sign of dementia is having difficulty managing money. This might start off as having trouble balancing a checkbook or keeping up with bills, but as the disease progresses, poor financial decisions are often made across the board.
Though some might brush these symptoms off as just a normal part of aging, they shouldn’t. They could be the first signs that a loved one may soon need more help in navigating their life.